New Zealanders are worried about the impact of growing tourist numbers, a new survey shows.
Commissioned by Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa, the survey found the vast majority of people agree international tourism is good for New Zealand.
But about 40 percent remain concerned about the pressure tourism growth is putting on the country.
Those concerns include accommodation shortages, congestion on the roads, environmental damage, freedom camping and road safety.
On the other side of the world in Venice, the tourism crush has reached such epic proportions that authorities have installed temporary gates at the ends of two bridges to turn back visitors over the Mayday weekend if numbers become overwhelming.
The effect of mass tourism is so smothering that Venice has long debated the possibility of setting a limit on the number of visitors who can enter each day.
CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Chris Roberts said the New Zealand tourism industry was working with local communities to try and manage visitor impact in tourism hotspots and maintain positive attitudes towards internationals.
“Queenstown and Auckland are the areas that are most concerned about the pressure from international tourism, and overall perceptions from around the Queenstown area tend to be more negative than the other centres surveyed,” he said.
The survey showed that most Kiwis don’t understand the value of tourism to the national economy, with just 13 percent of those surveyed aware that it is the country’s biggest export industry.
“Something that we need to do better at is explaining how important tourism is to New Zealand and what a contribution it makes to our economy,” Mr Roberts said.
While New Zealand is experiencing record visitor numbers, we have a long way to go before seeing the kind of tourism squeeze choking Dubrovnik in Croatia or the Greek island of Santorini, where authorities have put limits on the number of tourists they are prepared to absorb.
Low-cost flights, the booming cruise ship industry and home-letting websites such as Airbnb have all been blamed for filling desirable destinations with visitors and emptying them of locals.